Try Our New BETA Version
(navigation image)
Home Donate | Store | Blog | FAQ | Jobs | Volunteer Positions | Contact | Bios | Forums | Projects | Terms, Privacy, & Copyright
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)

Download item

item image

Play / Download (help[help])

(2.7 K)JPEG Thumb
(147.6 K)JPEG

All Files: HTTPS



NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle (SSC)Comet 'Bites the Dust' Around Dead Star ()

This artist's concept illustrates a comet being torn to shreds around a dead star, or white dwarf, called G29-38. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope observed a cloud of dust around this white dwarf that may have been generated from this type of comet disruption. The findings suggest that a host of other comet survivors may still orbit in this long-dead solar system. The white dwarf G29-38 began life as a star that was about three times as massive as our sun. Its death involved the same steps that the sun will ultimately undergo billions of years from now. According to theory, the G29-38 star became brighter and brighter as it aged, until it bloated up into a dying star called a red giant. This red giant was large enough to engulf and evaporate any terrestrial planets like Earth that happened to be in its way. Later, the red giant shed its outer atmosphere, leaving behind a shrunken skeleton of star, called a white dwarf. If the star did host a planetary system, outer planets akin to Jupiter and Neptune and a remote ring of icy comets would remain. The Spitzer observations provide observational evidence for this orbiting outpost of comet survivors. Astronomers speculate that one such comet was knocked into the inner regions of G29-38, possibly by an outer planet. As the comet approached very close to the white dwarf, it may have been torn apart by the star's tidal forces. Eventually, all that would be left of the comet is a disk of dust. This illustration shows a comet in the process of being pulverized: part of it still exists as a chain of small clumps, while the rest has already spread out into a dusty disk. Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 broke apart in a similar fashion when it plunged into Jupiter in 1994.

This item is part of the collection: NASA Images

Mediatype: image
Creator: NASA/JPL-Caltech/T. Pyle (SSC)
Date: 0000
Relation: NASA's Spitzer Finds Possible Comet Dust Around Dead Star [ ]; Podcast interview with Dr. Marc Kuchner [ ]
Insightuid: nasaNAS~12~12~64308~168784
What: Spitzer Space Telescope
What: Sun
What: Earth
What: Jupiter
What: Neptune
Identifier: SPITZ-ssc2006-04b
Addeddate: 2009-10-06 03:53:21
Publicdate: 2009-10-06 06:16:10
Keywords: What -- Spitzer Space Telescope; What -- Sun; What -- Earth; What -- Jupiter; What -- Neptune; What -- COMETS

Individual Files

Image Files JPEG JPEG Thumb
ssc2006-04b_mac.jpg 147.6 KB 
2.7 KB 
Information FormatSize
SPITZ-ssc2006-04b_files.xml Metadata [file] 
SPITZ-ssc2006-04b_meta.xml Metadata 3.1 KB 

Be the first to write a review
Downloaded 10 times

Terms of Use (31 Dec 2014)